MAC: Mines and Communities

Canadian court ruling may hold Anvil to account for Congo massacre

Published by MAC on 2011-05-02
Source: Global Witness

For the past seven years, the Anvil mining company has avoided being brought to a Canadian court, to answer allegations of actively assisting the massacre of more than 70 civilians in the DR Congo town of Kilwa during the recent horrendous civil war. See: Congolese victims strike Anvil in Canada

Now, Quebec's highest court has finally agreed to hear the evidence.

Court ruling marks significant step forward in holding Canadian mining company to account

Global Witness press release

28 April 2011

Montreal. The Superior Court of Quebec has ruled today that the case against Canadian corporation Anvil Mining Limited in relation to alleged involvement in a 2004 massacre in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can proceed to the next stage.

The class action against Anvil Mining was filed with the Montréal Court on 8 November 2010 by The Canadian Association against Impunity, an organization representing survivors and families of victims of the Kilwa massacre.

Anvil Mining is accused of providing logistical support to the Congolese army who raped, murdered and brutalised the people of Kilwa in a massacre in 2004. According to the United Nations, over 70 civilians died as a direct result of the military action, including some who were executed and thrown in mass graves.

In his decision, Judge Benoît Emery rejected Anvil Mining's position that there were insufficient links to Quebec to enable the Quebec court to have jurisdiction over the case. They also argued that even if there was sufficient attachment to Quebec, the case should be brought in the DRC or Australia.

Judge Emery stated: "It is apparent …that it is impossible to determine that the authorities of the Congo or of Australia would clearly be more appropriate for hearing the case. In fact, at this stage in the proceedings, everything indicates that if the court were to refuse to accept the application [for a class action] on the basis of article 3135 of the Civil Code of Quebec, there would be no other possibility for the victims' civil claim to be heard." (1)

Patricia Feeney, speaking on behalf of The Canadian Association against Impunity, said "We strongly welcome this decision. It represents a significant step forward in the process of trying to hold Anvil Mining to account and to bring some justice to the victims of the massacre and their families."

The court will now consider whether the case should be certified as a class action, allowing all those who suffered in Kilwa to bring claims against Anvil Mining. A hearing on the class certification is scheduled for June.

Additional materials can be found here:

For more information, please contact Members of the Canadian Association against Impunity:

Matt Eisenbrandt, Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), (English): +1 613 218 9909 (in Canada)
Tricia Feeney, RAID, (French, English): +44 (0) 7796178447 (in the UK)
Andie Lambe, Global Witness, (English): +44 (0) 7809 616 545 (in the UK)
Denis Tougas, L'Entraide missionnaire, (French, English): +1 514 270 6089 (in Canada)

Notes :
(1) Association Canadienne Contre l'Impunité A.C.C.I.) c. Anvil Mining Limited, 2011 (Cour Supérieur) 500-06-000530-101 par. 38-39

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